The University of Southampton

Sensor Web for the study of Glaciers

Pervasive Computing and Networks, Sensor Technology, e-Science

An important challenge today is to understand climate change and its effect on sea level rise. Glaciers are a key element, but their behaviour is poorly understood. The melting of West Antarctica's ice is not only controlled by snow fall and surface melting but also by processes under the ice. Our research aims to use technological advances to understand what happens beneath glaciers and how they are affected by climate.

A combination of technologies has made sensor webs possible. These will eventually be spread around the world and will give us a clearer picture of how we are changing our environment. In order to make successful sensor webs issues such as: communications, low-power, robustness and adaptability have to be solved. A combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, computer science and environmental science are needed.

The aim of this project is to study climate change through its effects on glaciers. We are using ‘Subglacial Probes’ beneath the glacier, communicating to the surface via radio links. They contain various sensors and their position and orientation is sensed by the surface system.

Primary investigators

Secondary investigator

  • Dr Royan Ong


  • BTExact
  • Intellisys

Associated research groups

  • Grid and Pervasive Computing Group
  • Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group
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